Big Rock lands on Ontario

Big Rock Brewery, the Calgary-based microbrewery that manufactures some of the most popular beer available in the West is making a push to boost its profile in Ontario....

Big Rock Brewery, the Calgary-based microbrewery that manufactures some of the most popular beer available in the West is making a push to boost its profile in Ontario.

The brewer of crafted suds such as Traditional, Grasshopper Wheat and Warthog ales has recruited Toronto-based Thursby and Associates to develop an out-of-home campaign – under the tagline ‘The Big Rock Collection. Every one a gem,’ – that will include transit shelter and washroom. A full round of in-bar promotions centred within the 416 Toronto area code is also underway.

Stephen Thursby, agency founder and creative director, says, ‘Big Rock is growing,’ and the time has come to make a bigger impression on the Ontario market.

The move will put Big Rock head-to-head with national premium brands such as Sleeman. The new campaign, which breaks in May, also comes at a time when Labatt is moving to up its premium profile.

Big Rock’s brands – which are brewed with pure malt, hops and Rocky Mountain water – have been available in bars, LCBO and Beer Store outlets in Ontario for the past four years but till now the brewer has focused its marketing activity in the West.

In Ontario, marketing was limited to trade shows and the occasional ad in Now magazine, says Martin Gunson the head of marketing for the brewer. ‘We were kind of dabbling until we hit some critical mass,’ he says. ‘We thought this year, let’s broaden the horizon, let people know we’re here.’

In addition, Gunson says, Big Rock is near capacity for production. While the brewery contemplates expansions, it seems like a logical time to try boosting sales in Canada’s biggest market.